Reading is my absolute favorite thing. I have a book, magazine, or my e-reader with me wherever I go. I love to read new books, I love books I’ve already read, I love to read to my kid, I love to talk about books, and to hear about what everyone else is reading. I have a pretty serious Netflix habit, but nothing can take the place of a good book when it comes to relaxing and recharging.
I try to keep a running list of books I want to read, so I don’t forget about any new literary finds (my Amazon wish list is getting a little over the top). I think summer is the perfect time to knock a few books off the reading list. You might be traveling or PCSing this summer, and need some entertainment on the beach or the plane. A book by the pool is pretty great, and don’t forget about audio books if you’re doing any road trips to a new duty station this summer.
Here’s some inspiration if you want to build your own reading list! Some of these I’ve read, and some I plan to. And please, share your own great reads for the summer.
Shrill: Notes from a Loud Woman by Lindy West
I’m very excited to read this memoir by one of my favorite writers this summer. This is the first book by Lindy West, whose work has appeared in GQ and the Guardian, among other places. She writes about feminism, pop culture, life on the internet, loving your body, and a lot of other fascinating and sometimes controversial topics. She is funny and insightful. As you may have noted from the title, she has pretty strong opinions, so read at your own risk!
The Tsar of Love and techno: Stories by Anthony Marra
Anthony Marra’s previous book, a Constellation of Vital Phenomena, is an incredible story about life in a war zone that I would highly recommend to anyone. It’s has cracked my top ten favorite books list, which is why I’m looking forward to reading his newest work. The Tsar of Love and Techno is a collection of short stories about life in the former Soviet Union. Short stories are great for summer – you can read one story at a time as you go from pool to beach to your front porch. I can’t wait to read these.
The Girl with All the Gifts by M.R. Carey
The Girl with All the Gifts is part thriller, part sci-fi, and part coming of age story. I recently read this book (which is being made into a movie) and although it scared me, I couldn’t put it down. Anyone who is a fan of dystopian fiction, surprise twists, and stories with kick-ass girl characters will like this book.
my beautiful friend by Elena Ferrante
My Brilliant Friend is the first book in the Neapolitan trilogy by Italian author Elena Ferrante. It tells the story of two young friends growing up in Naples in the 50s. It’s a wonderful, sometimes sad story about friendship between women, growing up, poverty, class, and how societies change over time. It’s a powerful and difficult read that I think is great for those times when you really want to immerse yourself in a story. An interesting footnote is that Elena Ferrante is the author’s pseudonym, and he or she has managed to keep their real identity a secret despite a lot of commercial success and critical acclaim.
American Gods by Neil Gaiman
If you’re a fan of fantasy, you’ve probably already read this incredible book that was published in 2002, but I think it’s worth revisiting because it’s about to become a TV show. I always like to be the smug person who can say I thought the book was better than the movie/show. I’m cool like that, and very fun to talk to at parties, obviously. Anyway, Neil Gaiman, who writes everything from fantasy to children’s books, crafts a pretty amazing story using ancient mythology in American Gods.
Tanya Bakes by Tanya Burr
I love cooking and eating food, but I also love reading about food! Tanya Bakes is a brand new cookbook by Tanya Burr, who is an adorable and fun British YouTube star. Summer is a great time to get your bored kids into the kitchen to bake something on a rainy day. Then everyone gets snacks! What could be better?
Reasons To Stay Alive by Matt Haig
Matt Haig is one of my favorite fiction writers and you should definitely give his novels a try. The Humans is my favorite, and it’s a poignant and hilarious take on what it means to be, well, a human. Reasons to Stay Alive, however, is memoir of Haig’s own experience with depression. I recommend it for anyone who’s struggled with depression or is close to someone experiencing mental health issues.
Why Not Me? By Mindy Kaling
You probably recognize Mindy Kaling from her show The Mindy Project, or from her time on The Office. I thought her first book, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, was a lot of fun to read, so this summer I’m giving her latest collection of essays a try. I think she’s thoughtful and funny, and most of us can relate to her tales of awkwardness and anxiety.
Tribe: On Homecoming and Belonging by Sebastian Junger
If you’re looking to read about military topics, Sebastian Junger’s recent bestseller Tribe might be for you. This book is about the realities of being a veteran in today’s America and what war means in our culture, which is something I’m sure a lot of us can relate to.
Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple
Where’d You Go, Bernadette has been a fixture on reading list posts like this one for a few years, but that is because it’s genuinely awesome. It’s the story of a woman who is sarcastic, funny, rude, and weird, who one day vanishes and her daughter searches for her. It’s hilarious, creative, sad, hopeful, and strange. It’s a story that draws you in and makes you think, but never feels like work. You won’t regret reading it.
The Assistants by Camille Perri
The Assistants seems fun, funny, and a little bit scandalous, so definitely a good beach read that I’m planning to try. It’s a story of assistants in the corporate world, what it means to be at the bottom of the ladder, and the ethics of getting ahead in life. If you’ve ever felt overworked and underpaid, you’ll probably enjoy this one.
What are your favorite books for summer reading?
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